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Alkan=Overrated Difficulty (Read 27775 times)

Offline jericho

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Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
« on: November 30, 2006, 07:57:02 PM »
Hi everyone AND happy birthday Alkan.

As anyone with sufficient knowledge of piano literature knows, Alkan wrote very demanding piano pieces. Indeed, they can be hellish but I think their difficulty is a bit overrated. Their technical demands can be equalled and surpassed by some pieces in the standard repertoire.

Is Allegreto alla Barbaresca more difficult than Scarbo? Is Scherzo Focoso more demanding than Islamey? How about any Alkan piece compared to Brahms' Paganini Variations?

Yes, Alkan pieces are terribly hard. But I don't think the great pianists avoid it because of their immense difficulty. There are a lot of virtuosi who are clearly capable of playing it but chose not to...Richter, Horowitz, Argerich, Cziffra, Hofmann, Lhevinne, Barere, Libetta, Kissin..
IMO, anyone who can manage Islamey, Gaspard de la Nuit, the Hammerklavier or even the Don Juan Fantasy and Feux Follets can also play Alkan if they choose to.

Offline mephisto

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #1 on: November 30, 2006, 08:07:47 PM »
I play Alkan, and I am no where close to playing Scarbo or anything else on your list.

The real technical difficulity lies in playing this music like Hamelin, wich sadly is impossible. :-[

Offline tompilk

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #2 on: November 30, 2006, 09:48:10 PM »
I play Alkan, and I am no where close to playing Scarbo or anything else on your list.

The real technical difficulity lies in playing this music like Hamelin, wich sadly is impossible. :-[
true... i can play most of Op. 39 No 2 but not scarbo...
tom
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Offline arensky

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #3 on: November 30, 2006, 10:42:57 PM »
I play Alkan, and I am no where close to playing Scarbo or anything else on your list.

The real technical difficulity lies in playing this music like Hamelin, wich sadly is impossible. :-[


Why? He does it...  ;)
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Offline bflatminor24

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #4 on: November 30, 2006, 10:49:45 PM »
You have a point, but you're also ignoring Alkan's most difficult works.

The Symphony for solo piano movements 1 and 4, along with the entire Concerto for solo piano are immensely difficult.

Not to mention pieces like Contrappunctus, the Grande Sonata, and Op. 17 Le Preux.

His Op. 76 etudes are incredibly difficult, as are his Op. 16 etudes. As with his Hexameron variations.
He also wrote very fast tempi which exacerbate the difficulty of his works.

~Max~
My favorite piano pieces - Liszt Sonata in B minor, Beethoven's Hammerklavier, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, Alkan's Op. 39 Etudes, Scriabin's Sonata-Fantaisie, Godowsky's Passacaglia in B minor.

Offline jre58591

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #5 on: November 30, 2006, 11:05:55 PM »
actually, fyi, according a to a few sources, cziffra did play alkan, but none was recorded. man, he probably would have owned the op 39 etudes.
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Offline jakev2.0

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #6 on: December 01, 2006, 02:32:35 AM »
Quote
IMO, anyone who can manage Islamey, Gaspard de la Nuit, the Hammerklavier or even the Don Juan Fantasy and Feux Follets can also play Alkan if they choose to.

I agree.


Offline jericho

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #7 on: December 01, 2006, 06:34:04 AM »
You have a point, but you're also ignoring Alkan's most difficult works.

The Symphony for solo piano movements 1 and 4, along with the entire Concerto for solo piano are immensely difficult.

Not to mention pieces like Contrappunctus, the Grande Sonata, and Op. 17 Le Preux.

His Op. 76 etudes are incredibly difficult, as are his Op. 16 etudes. As with his Hexameron variations.
He also wrote very fast tempi which exacerbate the difficulty of his works.

~Max~

I am aware of the difficulty of Grande Sonate or the Symphony and Concerto for solo piano. (Please take note that Allegreto Alla Barbaresca is a movement of the Concerto for solo piano).

Most people cannot play or have difficulty playing Alkan pieces because of their very fast tempi. But has anyone actually played Hammerklavier's Allegro movement or the Fugue Finale at the impossible tempi which Beethoven asked for? How about Prokofiev's Suggestion Diabolique? Even some Chopin etudes are not played at the composer's indicated tempi because very few pianists have the technique that can manage such speeds.

The bottomline of my argument, is that Alkan pieces are very demanding but there are pieces in the standard repertoire which are just as demanding or even more. However, some people argues that many pianists do not play Alkan because they cannot, which is obviously a false argument. They can but chose not to.

It can be taken as fact, that any pianist who can play Islamey, Gaspard de la Nuit, Petrushka, Feux Follets, Mazeppa, Don Juan Fantasy, the Paganini Variations, Baba Yaga(Pictures from an Exhibition),  Hammerklavier, Chopin's Ballade no.4, Suggestion Diabolique etc...can play an Alkan.

Offline mephisto

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #8 on: December 01, 2006, 01:16:56 PM »
Please note that Alkan wrote very beautifull easy pieces like the barcarolle wich isn't particulary difficult at all.

Offline tompilk

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #9 on: December 01, 2006, 05:05:08 PM »
Please note that Alkan wrote very beautifull easy pieces like the barcarolle wich isn't particulary difficult at all.
yes! and premier billetdoux and assez vitement from first chants recueils!
Tom
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #10 on: December 01, 2006, 07:11:31 PM »
I think that one of the significant areas of Alkan's difficulty is that (in pieces like the first and last movements of the Symphonie, for example) the music is not just technically difficult but also physically difficult. This, I find, is often not the case even in some of Liszt's more virtuosic works. However, I do agree that if someone is capable of playing the Don Juan Fantasy (for what it's worth, I think DJ is harder than Islamey) then they can probably handle Alkan.

Offline soliloquy

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #11 on: December 05, 2006, 08:25:01 PM »
lol


Balakirev Islamei vs. Alkan Trois Grandes Etudes Op. 76.


Hmm.  Hmm.


...


Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.  Any nine year old Korean can play Islamei.  There is only a handful of people in the world that can play Alkan.  As per your original statement that ANY of the technical tour de forces in Alkan's work can be surpassed in the standard repertoire, I would request a citation of a piece in the common repertoire that has a more difficult parallel octave passage than Alkan's Etude de Concert "Le Preux" Op. 17, a piece in the common repertoire requiring more endurance than that the Solo Concerto Op. 39 or his Chemin de Fer, a piece in the common repertoire requiring more speed than his Toccatina or Comme le Vent, a piece in the common repertoire requiring more agility than the Trois Grandes Etudes Op. 76 and a piece in the common repertoire more difficult to execute musically than the Grande Sonate Op. 33 or the first movement of the Concerto pour Piano Suel.

Yes, Allegretto Barbaresca is more difficult than Scarbo from Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit.  No, Scherzo Focoso is not as difficult as Islamei, but that is certainly one of Alkan's easiest "encore" type pieces.  The Brahms Paganini Variations are not even near the top as far as difficulty goes EVEN IN THE STANDARD REPERTOIRE.  I do not know why you choose this piece, when Gaspard de la Nuit and Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka are unequivocally more difficult in nearly every respect, and I would say there are several others in the common repertoire that would be very justifiably noted as more difficult, the Barber Sonata Op. 26, the Prokofiev Sonata No. 6, the Prokofiev Piano Concerti Nos. 2 and 5, the Bartok Concerto No. 2 and several others being good candidates, along with the Beethoven Concerto No. 4, Hammerklavier and some of the modern pieces that have become repertoire staples such as the Corigliano Etude Fantasy, Dutilleux Sonate or Ligeti Etudes.

While Alkan of course did not write "the most difficult music ever", his works are certainly more difficult than anything in the standard repertoire, and are probably the most difficult works of the Romantic Era, along with some of Liszt and Busoni's less-played pieces like the Berlioz Symphony Fantastique or Beethoven Symphony No. 9 transcriptions, or the Fantasia Contrapunctista or the Meyerbeer-Liszt-Busoni respectively.

Offline opus10no2

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #12 on: December 05, 2006, 08:38:30 PM »
John11inch?

right.

Much of the discussion so far is by and large irrelevant with regards to difficulty.


DIFFICULTY(by and large) = FIGURATIONxSPEED

Is a sequence of 3rds more difficult than a sequence of scalar passages?

NOT NECESSARILY

Everything, when it comes down to it, depends upon the speed with which the pianistic figurations are taken, and each different type of figuration has it's own speed limit.
And of course, some pianists are more adept at some figurations than others.

This is the bigger picture.
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Offline presto agitato

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #13 on: December 05, 2006, 08:41:36 PM »
The difficulty of Alkan´s pieces lie in their speed.

There are harder pieces by Scriabin, Brahms or Beethoven even Albeniz

The masterpiece tell the performer what to do, and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the cocomposer what he ought to have composed.

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Offline mephisto

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #14 on: December 05, 2006, 09:44:10 PM »
John11inch?

right.

Much of the discussion so far is by and large irrelevant with regards to difficulty.


DIFFICULTY(by and large) = FIGURATIONxSPEED

Is a sequence of 3rds more difficult than a sequence of scalar passages?

NOT NECESSARILY

Everything, when it comes down to it, depends upon the speed with which the pianistic figurations are taken, and each different type of figuration has it's own speed limit.
And of course, some pianists are more adept at some figurations than others.

This is the bigger picture.

Very good point.

Offline soliloquy

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #15 on: December 05, 2006, 11:01:34 PM »
"The difficulty of Alkan´s pieces lie in their speed."

Not always the case.  Many times it is the sheer endurance and stamina required.



"There are harder pieces by Scriabin, Brahms or Beethoven even Albeniz"

Um... no?  Most difficult pieces by these composers:

Scriabin:  Sonata No. 8
Brahms: Paganini Variations Op. 35
Beethoven: Sonata No. 29 Op. 106 "Hammerklavier" in Bb
Albeniz: Iberia

Sort of funny... Scriabin Sonata No. 8 is marked "Lent".  That's pretty slow.  So if the only thing that factors into difficulty is the velocity, fraid he's out.  Brahms Variations on a Theme by Paganini Op. 35 is not all that hard; hence why you see so many people playing it in piano competitions.  If all of these barely-pro pianists can play it, wouldn't it be safe to assume it's not as difficult as works that Liszt himself felt were too difficult?  Beethoven Hammerklavier is definitely the most difficult out of the above-listed pieces, due to the tempo the fugue asks for.  Now, take the length of the fugue and compare it to the fastest recording made of the piece, then take the written length of Le Preux and tell me what the fastest recording of that piece is (disregarding the pianola recording obviously) and I'm sure you'll find the time difference vs. respective lengths would tell you that people have gotten much closer to Hammerklavier than Le Preux.  Obviously the voicing in the fugue is difficult, but you just want to talk about speed so there you go.  Albeniz' Triana is not that difficult; many pianists play it at or above tempo; what makes it difficult, along with several other movements of Iberia, is that it locks the hands.


Xenakis' Evryali doesn't use anything beyond 32nd notes (check repeated notes on pages 2/3 if you're going what), and about 99/100 of the notes are only sixteenths.  Must be easy.

Offline presto agitato

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #16 on: December 05, 2006, 11:52:33 PM »
I forgot to mention Max Reger...crazy stuffˇˇˇ
The masterpiece tell the performer what to do, and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the cocomposer what he ought to have composed.

--Alfred Brendel--

Offline jre58591

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #17 on: December 05, 2006, 11:56:04 PM »
I forgot to mention Max Reger...crazy stuffˇˇˇ
ive seen many reger scores and it doesnt compare to alkan, for the most part. its basically like brahms on crack. also, the difficulty in alkan doesnt lie in speed. it has already been thus proven in the previous posts.
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Offline opus10no2

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #18 on: December 06, 2006, 12:13:16 AM »
ive seen many reger scores and it doesnt compare to alkan, for the most part. its basically like brahms on crack. also, the difficulty in alkan doesnt lie in speed. it has already been thus proven in the previous posts.

Reger's Bach variations are rather insane.

"The difficulty of Alkan´s pieces lie in their speed."

Not always the case. Many times it is the sheer endurance and stamina required.

this is included in the 'speed' factor

since there would be no concern for endurance if they were played slowly.

Sort of funny... Scriabin Sonata No. 8 is marked "Lent". That's pretty slow. So if the only thing that factors into difficulty is the velocity, fraid he's out.

This is included in 'figuration', if the difficulties are based upon cross rhythms and unusual note patterns, then this is a 'co-ordinational' difficulty'.

Also, basing a piece's 'difficulty' on it's length and/or number of notes makes little sense with regards to technique, this is the realm of the brain and memorization.
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Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #19 on: December 06, 2006, 05:13:28 AM »


Sort of funny... Scriabin Sonata No. 8 is marked "Lent".  That's pretty slow.  So if the only thing that factors into difficulty is the velocity, fraid he's out. 

Haha.  Scriabin Sonata 8 is marked Lent for the first two pages.  After that the slowest tempo is meno mosso, and that meno refers to Allegro agitato.  At the end, the tempo accelerates faster and faster to prestissimo, like an upward spiral or a curl of incense smoke on fast-forward.

Xenakis' Evryali doesn't use anything beyond 32nd notes (check repeated notes on pages 2/3 if you're going what), and about 99/100 of the notes are only sixteenths.  Must be easy.

Glad you bothered to look at page 3 of Evryali.

Warmly,
Walter Ramsey

Offline soliloquy

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #20 on: December 07, 2006, 04:04:10 AM »
this is included in the 'speed' factor since there would be no concern for endurance if they were played slowly.

This is included in 'figuration', if the difficulties are based upon cross rhythms and unusual note patterns, then this is a 'co-ordinational' difficulty'.


K.  If you play the solo concerto at half-speed, you are playing solid, heavy, chords, and in the third movement you will still be playing pretty fast, for almost TWO HOURS.  So, since that wouldn't be all that fast, it wouldn't require any endurance; this is your logic if I'm not mistaken?  Now, are you saying that there are no works of Alkan that require the coordination or finger dexterity that the Brahms Paganini Variations does?  Take a look at his Etude Op. 35 in G Flat Major and tell me what you think.  Sufficiently "tricky", yes?  Anyway, if it's really necessary I could ask a few pianists who perform Alkan?

Offline bflatminor24

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #21 on: December 07, 2006, 04:20:14 AM »

K.  If you play the solo concerto at half-speed, you are playing solid, heavy, chords, and in the third movement you will still be playing pretty fast, for almost TWO HOURS.  So, since that wouldn't be all that fast, it wouldn't require any endurance; this is your logic if I'm not mistaken?  Now, are you saying that there are no works of Alkan that require the coordination or finger dexterity that the Brahms Paganini Variations does?  Take a look at his Etude Op. 35 in G Flat Major and tell me what you think.  Sufficiently "tricky", yes?  Anyway, if it's really necessary I could ask a few pianists who perform Alkan?

Agreed. The Chant D'amour - Chant De Mort etude is a great example, likewise with Contrapunctus. It's silly to think that speed is the only factor in endurance. What about length? Concentration? Imagine a slow piece that lasts four hours. Or better yet, a piece with fast and slow sections that take extreme concentration, that also lasts four hours...like Opus clavicembalisticum for example. Any of these factors affects endurance.

Have you tried playing the Grande Sonata? I think my point is clear.

~Max~
My favorite piano pieces - Liszt Sonata in B minor, Beethoven's Hammerklavier, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, Alkan's Op. 39 Etudes, Scriabin's Sonata-Fantaisie, Godowsky's Passacaglia in B minor.

Offline opus10no2

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #22 on: December 07, 2006, 06:43:12 AM »
To the above 2 posts - NONE of that is of concern to technical difficulty.

This is like saying its harder to play Comme le Vent in 2 hours, in tempo, than it is to play it in 4 minutes.

Get a grip, of something other than the obvious.
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Offline bflatminor24

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #23 on: December 07, 2006, 06:46:09 AM »
What are you talking about? Technical difficulty encompasses dexterity, length, and concentration. Nobody here is talking about the musical difficulty of interpretation - that is another topic.

Harder to play comme le vent in 2 hours than 4 minutes? No, I'm afraid that analogy has nothing to do with anything in this thread. And apparently what I said WASN'T obvious, because several members of this forum seemed to disagree. ::)

~Max~
My favorite piano pieces - Liszt Sonata in B minor, Beethoven's Hammerklavier, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, Alkan's Op. 39 Etudes, Scriabin's Sonata-Fantaisie, Godowsky's Passacaglia in B minor.

Offline soliloquy

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #24 on: December 07, 2006, 06:52:03 AM »
What are you talking about? Technical difficulty encompasses dexterity, length, and concentration. Nobody here is talking about the musical difficulty of interpretation - that is another topic.

Harder to play comme le vent in 2 hours than 4 minutes? No, I'm afraid that analogy has nothing to do with anything in this thread. And apparently what I said WASN'T obvious, because several members of this forum seemed to disagree. ::)

~Max~


I'm almost tempted to start disagreeing with you, despite how infallably correct you are, simply because arguing with these people is like arguing with a four year old, and presents no challenge, due to the fact that no matter how much staunch evidence you can produce they will still say they are right, not necessarily because they don't understand the things you say, but because they think they are right and are NOT going to change their minds.  I'm waiting for one of them to throw a temper tantrum, honestly.

Offline opus10no2

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #25 on: December 07, 2006, 06:58:31 AM »
Nobody here is talking about the musical difficulty of interpretation - that is

This blatant BS idea was concocted within the bowels of the hornblower extraodinaire - Mr. Brendel, to draw attention away from his technical inadequecies.


What are you talking about? Technical difficulty encompasses dexterity, length, and concentration.

Concentration?  what the hell is this? Irrelevant BS again.

Now LENGTH is an interesting area of contention, if taken as the length of the work in pages, not how long it takes to play, as this would involve the ugliness of slowness.

Is the Don Juan fantasy more difficult than Chopin's 10/2?

It's longer, in terms of notes, more different techniques to master, but again, it has few concentrated sections like the 10/2, it demands adequecy in a vast array of figurations.

10/2 demands peak athleticism in 1 incredibly taxing figuration for the duration of 4 pages.

In the end, I feel it is better to judge sectionally, take 4 pages from Don Juan and it just wouldn't compare.
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Offline chromatickler

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #26 on: December 07, 2006, 07:03:19 AM »
no matter how much staunch evidence you can produce they will still say they are right
ahahahahahahah da zkep cummah!!!

Offline soliloquy

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #27 on: December 07, 2006, 07:09:44 AM »
Is the Don Juan fantasy more difficult than Chopin's 10/2?

It's longer, in terms of notes, more different techniques to master, but again, it has few concentrated sections like the 10/2, it demands adequecy in a vast array of figurations.

10/2 demands peak athleticism in 1 incredibly taxing figuration for the duration of 4 pages.

In the end, I feel it is better to judge sectionally, take 4 pages from Don Juan and it just wouldn't compare.


You take four random pages from Brahms Paganini Variations and then four random pages from Alkan's Le Preux Op. 17 or Etude Op. 76 No. 2 or Etude Op. 39 No. 10 or Etude Op. 39 No. 7 and I can ASSURE you that they also wouldn't compare.  Are you going to disagree?  If you do, I will then post four pages from each and show you how ridiculously wrong you are.  If you don't, then you've just admitted everything you said previously is BS.  Take your pick.



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Offline opus10no2

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #28 on: December 07, 2006, 07:14:08 AM »

You take four random pages from Brahms Paganini Variations and then four random pages from Alkan's Le Preux Op. 17 or Etude Op. 76 No. 2 or Etude Op. 39 No. 10 or Etude Op. 39 No. 7 and I can ASSURE you that they also wouldn't compare.  Are you going to disagree?  If you do, I will then post four pages from each and show you how ridiculously wrong you are.  If you don't, then you've just admitted everything you said previously is BS.  Take your pick.


I think you have missed the point.

I would not contend that the Brahms is harder.

I would, however, contend and assert with thrust and vigour, that playing the Brahms accurately at a stunning tempo is much harder than playing the whole Alkan concerto passably.
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Offline bflatminor24

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #29 on: December 07, 2006, 07:23:37 AM »
Opus 10no.2 -

You dismiss concentration as BS? I'm trying to explain that playing scales up and down the piano at fast speeds doesn't make a piece difficult because it's a mental hibernation for the pianist. There is no intellectual vigor thus the piece takes not one iota of concentration. Is that difficult to understand? or is it just BS?

I don't know why you feel compelled to insult Alfred Brendel - I've never heard him make any excuses for his technical mistakes. Why don't you stay focused?

Nobody is comparing the Don Juan to Chopin's 10/2...why do you feel a comparison is necessary? They are difficult in different ways.

Is steering a boat harder than driving a speed bike?

You aren't making any point here... seems like you want someone to argue with. So far you have shown ZERO reasons why Brahms Paganini variations are more difficult than "anything Alkan ever wrote." And I'm not going to take your word for it, because you haven't played "everything Alkan ever wrote." That's like taking a course in algebra and claiming it's harder than anything in multi-variable calculus.

But hey, if you say so, it MUST be true. Right?

~Max~
My favorite piano pieces - Liszt Sonata in B minor, Beethoven's Hammerklavier, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, Alkan's Op. 39 Etudes, Scriabin's Sonata-Fantaisie, Godowsky's Passacaglia in B minor.

Offline soliloquy

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #30 on: December 07, 2006, 07:28:21 AM »
I think you have missed the point.

I would not contend that the Brahms is harder.

I would, however, contend and assert with thrust and vigour, that playing the Brahms accurately at a stunning tempo is much harder than playing the whole Alkan concerto passably.


No I think you have missed the point of this entire thread.  What everyone else is debating is whether or not staple repertoire pieces like Brahms Variations on a Theme by Paganini Op. 35 or Beethoven Sonata No. 29 Op. 106 "Hammerklavier" are more TECHNICALLY difficult than any work of Alkan.  Also, you need to pick one side and stay on it; not change every time it seems like it might suit your argument, whatever exactly your "argument" is.  First musicality isn't a factor, then speed isn't a factor, then coordination isn't a factor.  And at some point, according to you, speed is the ONLY factor, coordination is the ONLY factor, making a "perfect" performance is the ONLY factor.  Choose one or shut up.  The fact is, we're talking, AND PAY ATTENTION TO THIS, the technical difficulty of properly executing the notes of a piece in the notated rhythms and tempi.  I can say "ohhh... Mozart Sonata K. 545 is harder than Finnissy Solo Concerto No. 4 because it would require perfection!"  Well *** that- you go and perfect your Finnissy Solo Concerto No. 4 more easily than you perfect your Mozart and then you can tell me that Finnissy is easier.  No sliding scales.


So, you go PERFECT Alkan Solo Concerto Op. 39 with more ease than Brahms Paganini Variations.  Good luck pal.

Offline opus10no2

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #31 on: December 07, 2006, 07:29:50 AM »

You aren't making any point here... seems like you want someone to argue with. So far you have shown ZERO reasons why Brahms Paganini variations are more difficult than "anything Alkan ever wrote."

~Max~


when did I say this?

The point I make is that there are NO ABSOLUTE answers to 'which is a more difficult piece' unless conditions regarding the speed/tempo are pertained to.

Opus 10no.2 -

You dismiss concentration as BS? I'm trying to explain that playing scales up and down the piano at fast speeds doesn't make a piece difficult because it's a mental hibernation for the pianist. There is no intellectual vigor thus the piece takes not one iota of concentration. Is that difficult to understand? or is it just BS?


This is along the same lines as the difficulty of memorization.

I stated previously that I don't consider that a true area of PIANISTIC difficulty.
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Offline opus10no2

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #32 on: December 07, 2006, 07:36:51 AM »

No I think you have missed the point of this entire thread.  What everyone else is debating is whether or not staple repertoire pieces like Brahms Variations on a Theme by Paganini Op. 35 or Beethoven Sonata No. 29 Op. 106 "Hammerklavier" are more TECHNICALLY difficult than any work of Alkan.  Also, you need to pick one side and stay on it; not change every time it seems like it might suit your argument, whatever exactly your "argument" is.  First musicality isn't a factor, then speed isn't a factor, then coordination isn't a factor.  And at some point, according to you, speed is the ONLY factor, coordination is the ONLY factor, making a "perfect" performance is the ONLY factor.  Choose one or shut up.  The fact is, we're talking, AND PAY ATTENTION TO THIS, the technical difficulty of properly executing the notes of a piece in the notated rhythms and tempi.  I can say "ohhh... Mozart Sonata K. 545 is harder than Finnissy Solo Concerto No. 4 because it would require perfection!"  Well *** that- you go and perfect your Finnissy Solo Concerto No. 4 more easily than you perfect your Mozart and then you can tell me that Finnissy is easier.  No sliding scales.


So, you go PERFECT Alkan Solo Concerto Op. 39 with more ease than Brahms Paganini Variations.  Good luck pal.

Everything you write is theory, you speak like a person who hasn't put any of his ideas into practice.

I would go as far as to assume you are a poor pianist, with an inferiority complex, and attempt to sound intellectual by virtue of style, but to the discerning eye the substance and content of your collected writings amount to a pile of fetuses, ideas...concepts that were never brought to fruition.

The fact is that everyone plays a different tempi, people are human.

You do have a point though, that if we take the tempo marks as gospel, and everyone adhered to them, it would be easier to judge, but life is never so simple as you are.
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Offline chromatickler

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #33 on: December 07, 2006, 07:41:50 AM »
I would go as far as to assume you are a poor pianist, with an inferiority complex, and attempt to sound intellectual by virtue of style, but to the discerning eye the substance and content of your collected writings amount to a pile of fetuses, ideas...concepts that were never brought to fruition.

ahahahahahhahaha dat zkep! 8)

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #34 on: December 07, 2006, 08:15:59 AM »
Cziffra played Alkan,
so did Libetta

as a matter of fact, Libetta has a video of the Grande Sonata on youtube or something...

regardless, what's much more difficult then what you mention is the Symphony for Solo Piano and Concerto for Solo Piano


those are RIDICULOUS

Offline soliloquy

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #35 on: December 07, 2006, 08:18:11 AM »
Everything you write is theory, you speak like a person who hasn't put any of his ideas into practice.

I would go as far as to assume you are a poor pianist, with an inferiority complex, and attempt to sound intellectual by virtue of style, but to the discerning eye the substance and content of your collected writings amount to a pile of fetuses, ideas...concepts that were never brought to fruition.

The fact is that everyone plays a different tempi, people are human.

You do have a point though, that if we take the tempo marks as gospel, and everyone adhered to them, it would be easier to judge, but life is never so simple as you are.

Baseless insults are generally a sign of concession, and all of us people who are obviously not as smart as you are or know as much about piano as you (har) are picking up on that.

Good point?  Wow, you really convinced me that Brahms is harder than Alkan there.  I didn't think you had it in you, but there you go.  Small child, I have a tip; don't start throwing insults around with SDC legends lol

Let's extract!


Everything you write is theory, you speak like a person who hasn't put any of his ideas into practice.

How is everything I write theory?  Please elaborate.  I know you won't, because this is an empty string of words your mind threw together that you thought would look like it meant something.  I would like to know which ideas in specific you refer to.  I know you won't be able to answer that either, because once again in your adolescent mind you thought that a vague, random insult would make me curl up and go away- admit it; when you wrote this response, your mentality was "i'm going to WIN."  What the *** are you trying to win?  If you were trying to win the "look like an idiot award" I have the gold, silver, bronze and honorary mention awards all with your name on them.  Hey!  You're like the Krzysztof Penderecki of retardation!  You don't get this allusion, because you obviously do not have anywhere near the knowledge of music that someone who has such a ridiculous ego and case of narcissism would merit.  Are you saying that me stating that Alkan's works are more difficult than Brahms' is a theory?  Well your statement that Brahms' are more difficult than Alkan's is also a theory, and I think my theory is looking a lot better than yours, considering the large amount of evidence I and specific citations I have produced, vs. the... oh wait.  Absolutely nothing you have produced.  Good one.  Have you personally put YOUR theory into practice?  For that to be true, you would have to play Alkan's Symphonie, Concerto, Sonate, Trois Grandes Etudes and Le Preux.  Let's see some videos.  Don't worry, I'm not holding my breath.


I would go as far as to assume you are a poor pianist,

I would first go so far as to tell you that you are wrong and that plenty of people here can substantiate that, and would THEN go so far as to assume that you must be blind and deaf, because if you had ever heard or seen the works in question, you wouldn't be saying what you are right now.  Unless you're just an idiot who knows nothing about the difficulties of playing the piano.  Hmm... I'm going to go with option 2.  Maybe if you WERE blind and deaf you'd have some excuse for saying the complete crap you did, and I might even almost feel sorry for you.  Oh wait- too late.


with an inferiority complex,

Inferior to who?  You?  That will be the day.  Because I obviously do think that you're much smarter than me, and do have a high respect for your opinions, no matter how misguided or simply blatantly wrong, right?


and attempt to sound intellectual by virtue of style

Attempt to sound intellectual?  What exactly does that mean?  Jeeze... I'm sorry if I happen to know the specifics on the subject we are SUPPOSED to be talking about and am not simply throwing words together out of boredom.  Yeah, I feel like a total dick.  Sorry to have inconvenienced your little rants with indesputable facts.  Also, I don't think you should be accusing someone of forcing themselves to sound smart in the same sentence you use the expression "by virtue of style".  It makes you look like a hypocrite, not to mention ridiculous.


but to the discerning eye the substance and content of your collected writings amount to a pile of fetuses, ideas..concepts that were never brought to fruition.

First off, please refer to the last sentence of my above paragraph.  Second off, I would much prefer to have "substance" in my writing that are "ideas" than what you have, which seems to be a repetition of "no substance" full of "misguided idiocy and talking out of your ass".  Now, please tell me which eyes you refer to besides your own, what exact content you refer to in my "collective writing" (back to the hypocracy) and what ideas?  The "idea" that Alkan is harder than Brahms?  That's not an idea; that's an opinion.  You may not know this, but these are actually two different things =D  You should get a dictionary.  You might even go so far as to call that opinion an "opinion of trial", or "the correct opinion" or just skip right to it and call it a "fact".  What concepts do you refer to?  How can you confirm they were not "brought to fruition" (hypocracy again)?  You seem to think a lot of words all mean the same thing when they have nothing to do with eachother.  Or were you just "trying to look intelligent" by mixing up your vocabulary a bit?


You do have a point though, that if we take the tempo marks as gospel, and everyone adhered to them, it would be easier to judge,

Yes.  You're right.  Of course we don't all play every piece at the exact written tempo.  What I don't personally understand is how to articulate to you that we are JUDGING the pieces' TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES based on HOW THEY ARE WRITTEN, including, guess what, no ... really... guess... no, not "fruition"... no, not "idea"... no, not "theory"... YES!  That's right!  Including MARKED TEMPI.  You are the one asserting theories, not me.  I am debating based on what this thread is about; you want to get into personal preferences of performers, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything that anyone except you is talking about.


but life is never so simple as you are.

Yes, I'm sorry I couldn't be the vibrant rainbow of emotions, the kaleidoscopic, full spectrum of multi-faceted BS that you are.  I am sooooo missing out. 8)

Offline bflatminor24

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #36 on: December 07, 2006, 08:55:18 AM »
Ouch, John, you tore him a new one.

As far as what you said, I agree. Moving on, what about Alkan's writing makes it look easy? I use the word "look" because I doubt anyone here has played enough Alkan to call any of his works "easy." Judging by the scores of the works I own, which include all of Op. 33, 35, 39 and 76, his music generally looks pretty technically difficult.

If you want to discuss "overrated" difficulty, I might cite a few of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies (which I have performed) because people seem to think octaves and one handed runs sound super hard, or something. Whatever, I changed my mind. This subject is retarded. What the f.uck is "overrated difficulty" anyway. Everything can be difficult for someone. I've heard ostensibly virtuoso pianists botch Two-part Inventions. This bulls.hit gets way too much attention.

I'm going to sleep. Good night all!

~Max~
My favorite piano pieces - Liszt Sonata in B minor, Beethoven's Hammerklavier, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, Alkan's Op. 39 Etudes, Scriabin's Sonata-Fantaisie, Godowsky's Passacaglia in B minor.

Offline jericho

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #37 on: December 07, 2006, 09:11:11 AM »
Opus 10no.2 -

You aren't making any point here... seems like you want someone to argue with. So far you have shown ZERO reasons why Brahms Paganini variations are more difficult than "anything Alkan ever wrote." And I'm not going to take your word for it, because you haven't played "everything Alkan ever wrote." That's like taking a course in algebra and claiming it's harder than anything in multi-variable calculus.

~Max~

If it's Abelian Von Neumann or any field of Abstract Algebra then yes, they are more difficult than Multi-variable Calculus.

I think some people have missed my point due my mistake in statement construction. But let me correct this error.

 "There are pieces in the standard repertoire which are comparable to Alkan and some are more difficult". I repeat "comparable "and some are "more difficult". When I say Gaspard de la Nuit and Islamey are comparable or even more difficult than Alkan, I DO NOT mean that they are more difficult than ALL Alkan pieces. Admietedly,  I am not a piano god to have been able to play all Alkan pieces nor all of the pieces in the Standard repertoire to match them up against each other. What I meant is that they are comparable to some and are more difficult than some. There might be three dozens of Alkan pieces that I haven't played or might never be able to play which might be more difficult than those I mentioned.

"The point I make is that there are NO ABSOLUTE answers to 'which is a more difficult piece' unless conditions regarding the speed/tempo are pertained to."

In response to this post by soliloquy. The condition pertaining to speed is that if they are played in the composer's indicated tempo. That's why I pointed out that playing Hammerklavier at Beethoven's indicated tempo is impossible(at least for me). If you noticed, when judging for difficulty I always consider "the composer's indicated tempo" as a criteria.

In addition to that, I am surprised how hostile the people here are. Everything seems to eventually lead to ad hominen arguments. Anyway, it might be inapproriate for me to criticize the way posters insult each other.

~A peaceful day to all of you.~

Offline panic

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #38 on: December 07, 2006, 09:56:14 AM »
It seems to me that the primary technical difficulty with Alkan lies in being incredibly agile - I'm not even sure if that's the correct word, so apologies. I mean the ability to keep very fast tempi absolutely constant and driven, all the while jumping all around the keyboard and, perhaps more significantly, with very abrupt changes in volume that require you to cut your forward "momentum" of volume instantaneously. Breaks or slow-downs because you can't jump fast enough or because a certain passage is technically hard are like crevasses in the music.

As a result of this - this might sound foolish - the first movement of the Sonata is a lot scarier to me than the second. Quasi-Faust's problems are, for a large part, addressed in Harmonies du soir, Chopin Ballade 1 and a few technical exercises such as octaves jumping back and forth. The first movement seems completely diabolical, however, for all the reasons I mentioned in the first paragraph.

Offline bflatminor24

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #39 on: December 07, 2006, 10:03:29 AM »
Can't sleep.  :(

Chris, I knew you were still obsessed with that piece. You ol' pal, you.

I can't wait to start learning the Symphony for Solo Piano! After Gaspard this summer, I'll get off my a.ss and learn it.

Everyone, meet Carl J. LaMark, from Italy. He is a great pianist. He will be joining this forum.

~Max~
My favorite piano pieces - Liszt Sonata in B minor, Beethoven's Hammerklavier, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, Alkan's Op. 39 Etudes, Scriabin's Sonata-Fantaisie, Godowsky's Passacaglia in B minor.

Offline wervel

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #40 on: December 07, 2006, 10:53:41 AM »
Opus 10no.2 -

 That's like taking a course in algebra and claiming it's harder than anything in multi-variable calculus.

~Max~

Hell yes, it IS WAY harder.

Needless discussion. What's the point of Alkans music being hard to play? He was a terrible composer, his music is boring and unnecessary. Some of the pianoscores of Richard Strauss' lieder and his 'burlesque' are very hard too, but hey, at least Strauss was an adequate composer.

I can't really understand why people are so afraid of the Hammerklavier sonata (seems more like a myth to me). The fugue only has a couple of difficult passages in it, but then again, so have many Beethoven sonatas (what about the 3rd varation of the last movement of the opus 109 sonata?) . (in fact, the hammerklavier sonata is overrated too, the adagio is terrible, extremelly boring and chaotic f.i.)

The only relevant thing said here, is that 'difficulty' is different for any other pianist.

F.i.,  Kissin ('the great virtuoso') is not at all capable of playing the last movement of Scriabins 3rd sonata (a work not  even mentionnend above).

Oh and, this may sound as a terribly leftist statement, but it surely has SOME truth in it: sometimes its way harder to play something a little slower...
 

Offline mephisto

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #41 on: December 07, 2006, 12:26:57 PM »

As far as what you said, I agree. Moving on, what about Alkan's writing makes it look easy? I use the word "look" because I doubt anyone here has played enough Alkan to call any of his works "easy."
~Max~

I can. I have played some Alkan pieces. Some preludes 2nd mvt of the Sonatina(the notes of the first mvt, but my speed is not like Hamelin :-[  ) and the Barcarolle. I could probably learn one Alkan piece everyday for 2 weeks. And I am not a very good pianist.


The real difficulity lies like opus10no2 sais in pure speed. Just look at some of the pianist who have played Alkan like Smith. Is his technic amazing?I mean amazing when compared to other pianist like Richter, Gilels, Ashkenazy etc who have never played Alkan) No his technic isn't particulary great. Yet he played most of Alkan' works, even works like the Concerto for solo piano and opus 76.


Skepto:


I am sure many other pianists could play Alkan as TECHNICLY good as him. But VERY VERY VERY few if any could play Alkan as technicly good as Hamelin. But who would say that nobody can play Chopin's 25.11 just because they don't play it up to tempo?

You mention Le Preux. Well that piece has maybe 2 reordings(3 if you consider the fake one) :

 Osamu Nakamura     rec 1989     Epic/Sony, ESCK 8001 (1989)
     Laurent Martin     rec 1990     Marco Polo, 8.223500 (1993)
     'Michael Nanasakov' (i.e. Junichi Nanasawa, produced with computer and Yamaha Disklavier)  rec. 2001
Nanasawa Articulates JNCD-1009 (2001)

None of these pianist(even though they are good) are technicly amazing pianist (again compared to other pianist like Richter and Fiorentino etc), therefor you can't make the comparicion that " the fastest Hammerklavier is much closer to the mm than the fastest recording of Le Preux".

Good night, and good luck





Offline bflatminor24

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #42 on: December 07, 2006, 12:27:14 PM »
You idiots, all of you. Algebra doesn't mean Linear Algebra, it means Algebra like solving for one variable or doing systems of equations like 8th grade. Way to miss the point. F.ucking douchebags. I hate you all.

And the above two posts are a bunch of pigs.hit. Oh, I suppose playing a couple of Alkan's less difficult works makes you an expert. Also notice how I never mentioned those pieces as being difficult, so you are arguing a moot point. And it isn't like opus10no2 "sais," speed is not the only factor in the difficulty of Alkan's music. Shows how little you people know about this composer. Why don't you do some research first, may I recommend Grove's Music Dictionary Online? I'm sure you can afford the subscription.

I can already feel the frustration swelling up in my throat like I just lectured an 8th grade math class on how .9bar = 1. Bunch of asinine illogic and assumptions from a bunch of asinine pontificating idiots. Well at least none of you are going to make it professionally in music.

Sweet Dreams.

~Max~
My favorite piano pieces - Liszt Sonata in B minor, Beethoven's Hammerklavier, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, Alkan's Op. 39 Etudes, Scriabin's Sonata-Fantaisie, Godowsky's Passacaglia in B minor.

Offline mephisto

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #43 on: December 07, 2006, 01:07:52 PM »
Max Wrote:

 I doubt anyone here has played enough Alkan to call any of his works "easy."

~Max~

I write:

No. I have.

Max Writes:

You are and idiot.

Conclusion:

Max has admited he is wrong. Mephisto wins.

Offline jericho

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #44 on: December 07, 2006, 02:07:37 PM »
You idiots, all of you. Algebra doesn't mean Linear Algebra, it means Algebra like solving for one variable or doing systems of equations like 8th grade. Way to miss the point. F.ucking douchebags. I hate you all.

...Bunch of asinine illogic and assumptions from a bunch of asinine pontificating idiots. Well at least none of you are going to make it professionally in music.

~Max~


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the smartest poster in this forum. JOKE!!! How pathetic...
 
Quote
You idiots, all of you. Algebra doesn't mean Linear Algebra, it means Algebra like solving for one variable or doing systems of equations like 8th grade.

Is this is a sentence construction error or perhaps you have forgotten your math?

You should have said, "What I meant with Algebra was Elementary Algebra"

Linear and Abstract Algebra are branches of Algebra. Go to the nearest bookstore and notice that some books in Abstract algebra are entitled only as algebra. Elementary and Intermediate Algebra are of course much easier than Multivariable Calculus(it is not multi-variable it's multivariable). You should have been more specific. Abstract Algebra is also different from Linear Algebra(which is usually taken as a prerequisite or corequisite of Multivariable Calculus). It was wrong and illogical to say that Algebra is easier than Calculus if you only meant Elementary Algebra.  The word "algebra" can mean any of its branches.

Duh. What an Idiot indeed.Incidentally, I knew from the beginning that what you meant was elementary algebra, but you seem to be unable to distinguish a joke when you see one.

Offline bflatminor24

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #45 on: December 07, 2006, 03:50:43 PM »
Alright, I guess everything is worth arguing over. Next time I"ll specify which algebra when I'm making a metaphor.

Oohh, Max is wrong and Mephisto is right because he SAYS so. Guess that makes Mephisto right.

~Max~
My favorite piano pieces - Liszt Sonata in B minor, Beethoven's Hammerklavier, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, Alkan's Op. 39 Etudes, Scriabin's Sonata-Fantaisie, Godowsky's Passacaglia in B minor.

Offline mephisto

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #46 on: December 07, 2006, 04:12:52 PM »
What is wrong with you!?

You said that no one could consider any of Alkan's music easy. See you used the word "any". And don't tell me hat was a mistake.

Than I crushed your argument by saying that have found some of his music easy. "Tomplik" wrote the exact same thing. No matter what your oppinion is you are wrong. Even if just ONE person in the hole world would consider ANY of Alkan's music easy, you would be wrong.

I am very sorry.

Offline opus10no2

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #47 on: December 07, 2006, 05:05:58 PM »
Baseless insults are generally a sign of concession, and all of us people who are obviously not as smart as you are or know as much about piano as you (har) are picking up on that.

Good point?  Wow, you really convinced me that Brahms is harder than Alkan there.  I didn't think you had it in you, but there you go.  Small child, I have a tip; don't start throwing insults around with SDC legends lol

Let's extract!


How is everything I write theory?  Please elaborate.  I know you won't, because this is an empty string of words your mind threw together that you thought would look like it meant something.  I would like to know which ideas in specific you refer to.  I know you won't be able to answer that either, because once again in your adolescent mind you thought that a vague, random insult would make me curl up and go away- admit it; when you wrote this response, your mentality was "i'm going to WIN."  What the *** are you trying to win?  If you were trying to win the "look like an idiot award" I have the gold, silver, bronze and honorary mention awards all with your name on them.  Hey!  You're like the Krzysztof Penderecki of retardation!  You don't get this allusion, because you obviously do not have anywhere near the knowledge of music that someone who has such a ridiculous ego and case of narcissism would merit.  Are you saying that me stating that Alkan's works are more difficult than Brahms' is a theory?  Well your statement that Brahms' are more difficult than Alkan's is also a theory, and I think my theory is looking a lot better than yours, considering the large amount of evidence I and specific citations I have produced, vs. the... oh wait.  Absolutely nothing you have produced.  Good one.  Have you personally put YOUR theory into practice?  For that to be true, you would have to play Alkan's Symphonie, Concerto, Sonate, Trois Grandes Etudes and Le Preux.  Let's see some videos.  Don't worry, I'm not holding my breath.


I would first go so far as to tell you that you are wrong and that plenty of people here can substantiate that, and would THEN go so far as to assume that you must be blind and deaf, because if you had ever heard or seen the works in question, you wouldn't be saying what you are right now.  Unless you're just an idiot who knows nothing about the difficulties of playing the piano.  Hmm... I'm going to go with option 2.  Maybe if you WERE blind and deaf you'd have some excuse for saying the complete crap you did, and I might even almost feel sorry for you.  Oh wait- too late.


Inferior to who?  You?  That will be the day.  Because I obviously do think that you're much smarter than me, and do have a high respect for your opinions, no matter how misguided or simply blatantly wrong, right?


Attempt to sound intellectual?  What exactly does that mean?  Jeeze... I'm sorry if I happen to know the specifics on the subject we are SUPPOSED to be talking about and am not simply throwing words together out of boredom.  Yeah, I feel like a total dick.  Sorry to have inconvenienced your little rants with indesputable facts.  Also, I don't think you should be accusing someone of forcing themselves to sound smart in the same sentence you use the expression "by virtue of style".  It makes you look like a hypocrite, not to mention ridiculous.


First off, please refer to the last sentence of my above paragraph.  Second off, I would much prefer to have "substance" in my writing that are "ideas" than what you have, which seems to be a repetition of "no substance" full of "misguided idiocy and talking out of your ass".  Now, please tell me which eyes you refer to besides your own, what exact content you refer to in my "collective writing" (back to the hypocracy) and what ideas?  The "idea" that Alkan is harder than Brahms?  That's not an idea; that's an opinion.  You may not know this, but these are actually two different things =D  You should get a dictionary.  You might even go so far as to call that opinion an "opinion of trial", or "the correct opinion" or just skip right to it and call it a "fact".  What concepts do you refer to?  How can you confirm they were not "brought to fruition" (hypocracy again)?  You seem to think a lot of words all mean the same thing when they have nothing to do with eachother.  Or were you just "trying to look intelligent" by mixing up your vocabulary a bit?


Yes.  You're right.  Of course we don't all play every piece at the exact written tempo.  What I don't personally understand is how to articulate to you that we are JUDGING the pieces' TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES based on HOW THEY ARE WRITTEN, including, guess what, no ... really... guess... no, not "fruition"... no, not "idea"... no, not "theory"... YES!  That's right!  Including MARKED TEMPI.  You are the one asserting theories, not me.  I am debating based on what this thread is about; you want to get into personal preferences of performers, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything that anyone except you is talking about.


Yes, I'm sorry I couldn't be the vibrant rainbow of emotions, the kaleidoscopic, full spectrum of multi-faceted BS that you are.  I am sooooo missing out. 8)

Such a pretentiously obtuse defensive post shows I hit a nerve.

I havent made any precise assertions in this topic regarding wich pieces I think are more 'difficult' in absolute terms.

I was simply explaining the most obvious formulae of discerning the difficulty of a passage in PIANISTIC terms.

Terms by which a pianist's technique dexterity and mechanism could be assessed.

Other difficulties are much more subjective and/or irrelevant when judging the pianist's technical ability.

I will reiterate the previously stated formulae -

Chosen Figuration (muliplied by) Speed Taken (equals) Difficulty, by and large.

Playing Alkan's Concerto for solo piano at indicated tempo is more pianistically difficult than doing the same with the Brahms variations.

But this kind of convenience rarely happens, and it is fair to say, as I stated, that an exceptionally executed Brahms shows more impressive technique than a standard Alkan concerto.
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Offline donjuan

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #48 on: December 07, 2006, 05:13:59 PM »
Hi everyone AND happy birthday Alkan.

As anyone with sufficient knowledge of piano literature knows, Alkan wrote very demanding piano pieces. Indeed, they can be hellish but I think their difficulty is a bit overrated. Their technical demands can be equalled and surpassed by some pieces in the standard repertoire.

Is Allegreto alla Barbaresca more difficult than Scarbo? Is Scherzo Focoso more demanding than Islamey? How about any Alkan piece compared to Brahms' Paganini Variations?

Yes, Alkan pieces are terribly hard. But I don't think the great pianists avoid it because of their immense difficulty. There are a lot of virtuosi who are clearly capable of playing it but chose not to...Richter, Horowitz, Argerich, Cziffra, Hofmann, Lhevinne, Barere, Libetta, Kissin..
IMO, anyone who can manage Islamey, Gaspard de la Nuit, the Hammerklavier or even the Don Juan Fantasy and Feux Follets can also play Alkan if they choose to.
so when did you say you were going to upload some of your recordings for us to hear?

Offline bflatminor24

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Re: Alkan=Overrated Difficulty
«Reply #49 on: December 07, 2006, 08:24:00 PM »
What is wrong with you!?

You said that no one could consider any of Alkan's music easy. See you used the word "any". And don't tell me hat was a mistake.

Than I crushed your argument by saying that have found some of his music easy. "Tomplik" wrote the exact same thing. No matter what your oppinion is you are wrong. Even if just ONE person in the hole world would consider ANY of Alkan's music easy, you would be wrong.

I am very sorry.

Oh, please don't be sorry. What are you apologizing for? You fabricated an argument and then defensed yourself against it.

You argue against things I never said. If reading comprehension is difficult for you (which evidently, it is) then you may ask someone for assistance. In short, I said that a) you were ignoring Alkan's more difficult works, and b) I cannot take your word for it that pieces like the Solo concerto and the Grande Sonata are technically and/or pianistically difficult since your judgments are baseless. So far, nobody has shown any evidence or logic to dispute that. By and large, no apology is necessary.

If you read on, you would also have noticed I dismissed the validity of the thread because debating Alkan's difficulty without any evidence of passages and the technique required to play them is arguing semantics and speculation.

Additionally, I placed no value judgment on Brahms' works since I do not have evidence to show they are of lesser difficulty. I only emphasized the exorbitant difficulty of Alkan's most demanding works based on my interpretation of the score and my own limited knowledge. If my point isn't clear by now, we're going in circles.

~Max~
My favorite piano pieces - Liszt Sonata in B minor, Beethoven's Hammerklavier, Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, Alkan's Op. 39 Etudes, Scriabin's Sonata-Fantaisie, Godowsky's Passacaglia in B minor.